Farons and Firepots

Srinagar Travel Blog

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Rehman's daughter
  

After settling in, Chris and I lounged on the Erin dock while Ali served a ceramic pot of tea on a silver tray. He cooked for Rehman and Rehman's  young daughter, ran errands, and performed cleaning and maintenance duties. Rehman referred to him as 'the boy' but always called him by name. In his late teens, Ali was from a small village in the snow-covered mountains near Gulmarg, some thirty miles to the west. Like most Kashmiris, he was of Pakistani descent.

 

Being the only foreigners - or guests - on the entire lake, numerous merchants approached our dock looking to sell everything from  common groceries to water chestnuts.

Kashmiri with faron and firepot
But it was Mister Mir who caught our attention. His shikhara was loaded with bundles of heavy woolen fabrics. Chris and I were quick to place orders for farons. Those poncho-like, knee-length outer garments were what the Kashmiris wore to keep warm. I chose a dark colored plaid with a buttoned, stubby-collared vee-neck; Chris, solid maroon with a short zipper at the neck. Their long sleeves were tapered to easily allow retracting the arms.

 

The faron would not be complete without a Kashmiri fire-pot so we paddled the shikhara to Factasoon's waterfront market to purchase those. That red clay cauldron was contained in a wicker basket which had two handles allowing easy passage from one hand to the other if the coals became too hot. Carrying it under our farons, we could feel heat coming out from around our necks. In a sitting position, the fire-pot would be placed between the feet, eliminating the need to heat our entire hut. Our farons included cotton liners which could be worn alone in warmer months.

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Rehmans daughter
Rehman's daughter
Kashmiri with faron and firepot
Kashmiri with faron and firepot
Srinagar
photo by: vishal_